The middle child spotted it first
From the back seat on the back road;
White, blue, and red, waving from the
Pole on the back corner of the
Back stoop of the house with the
Roll roofing and the laundry tree
Creaking in the backyard. "What's that?
"A broken American flag?"
I see it there, yes, but those same
Stars and bars adorn the front porch
Of the fine house on the front street
With magnolias in the front yard,
And the front of the ball cap and
The front bumper of the Camry
And the coin shop on Frontage road.
I suppose I should be proud of
My daughter, six years in the South
Before noticing the banner.
But all I can discern is how
My great-great-grandfather followed
This hand-stitched flag to a hell his
Sixteen-year-old self thought righteous.
Cover image by Ana Essentiels